Autistic pupils are three times as likely to be excluded from school as pupils with no special educational needs (SEN). The most common reason given by headteachers is ‘Physical assault against an adult’. However, disruptive behaviour can be a manifestation of a pupil’s autism and excluding a pupil for exhibiting disability related behaviour can amount to discrimination arising from disability, unless it can be justified

Since 2013, the National Autistic Society's (NAS) School Exclusions Service has supported parents and carers of children and young people on the autism spectrum, who have been excluded from school or college and the educational professionals striving to include them. 

New resources to assist educational professionals have been produced by the National Autistic Society for The Autism Education Trust with funding from The Department for Education in order to:

  • Encourage a better understanding of the different behaviours exhibited by children and young people on the autism spectrum at home and at school, their potential to refuse school and the impact of the school day on home life
  • Offer information on best practice to enable the successful reintegration of autistic pupils following exclusion.
  • Offer information in order to help children and young people on the autism spectrum who require additional support but do not meet the criteria for an Education, Health and Care plan (those on School Support).
  • Help school governors to understand their duties and parents understand their rights relating to exclusion, under the Equality Act 2010.

Although these resources have been funded by the Department for Education in England, where education law and practices differ from the rest of the UK, much of the practical advice would be relevant to teachers across the UK and beyond.

These resources are intended to help overcome some of the barriers to the inclusion of autistic pupils:

Families in need of advice may wish to contact our School Exclusions Service which offers advice and information on all aspects of school exclusion to parents of children and young people on the autism spectrum in England. This includes advice on informal exclusions; fixed-period and permanent exclusions; how to challenge your child’s exclusion and what you can do if you are concerned that your child is at risk of exclusion. Our Education Rights Service offers exclusion advice and information to families in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. 

Last reviewed 7 June 2018